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Do you have to accept an employee’s resignation? Basically, yes you do. There is a common misconception that you can choose whether or not to accept someone’s resignation but this is incorrect. There is a statutory minimum notice period and a contractual opportunity to provide more than the minimum. Termination of the employment is therefore a contractual right available to either party. Once notice has been given in accordance with the contract then there is nothing further to do other than acknowledge the resignation. You may wish to ask your employee to reconsider but you can’t force them to work against their will. Similarly, if your employee tries to withdraw their notice, you are not obliged to allow them to. Resigning without notice is only permissible when there has been a fundamental breach of contract by the employer (known as constructive dismissal). Where there is no such breach you could pursue them for breach of contract if you wished. It’s not unknown for an employee in a disciplinary situation to wish to resign before the decision, perhaps to dismiss, is made. As stated above you will have to accept the resignation but can insist that they serve their notice in full in order the disciplinary process can be concluded. If they refuse to attend further meetings, and you have warned them in advance, you can continue with the process and conclusion during their notice period.

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